Last week when I was sharing with you how my weekly schedule plays out I talked about studying for my message on Sunday. I usually spend anywhere from 10-12 hours a week on my message. After doing this for the last two years at the church I have gotten it down to a very nice routine.
I am an extreme morning person. My alarm goes off at 4:45 AM but I am usually up before that. I like to have about an hour and a half of personal study during that time. It is here that I do my devotions of reading through the Bible and journal. God really speaks to me during this time. I get stuff for my life, family, and messages here. I also do a lot of my scripture research here. I will follow notations all throughout the Bible looking for Scriptural depth to the passage I am speaking on. One danger I must fight during this time is my computer. I have to stay away from it or I will get distracted. I try to keep this time just the Bible, journal, and pen.
I spend a good portion of Monday getting my outline down. This isn't just the inductive study of the passage but getting a firm grip on my theme and supporting points. Everything hinges on this for me. I have to have my Theme and points down before I can go on. It is also the form that I give to the girls in the office for my outline in the bulletin and power point. I get this to them by Wednesday so they can do necessary prep. This is a good deadline for me because it makes me prioritize my time.
This is a fancy term for the study of the passage. With my outline done I can now use the wisdom of past saints to help illuminate what the scripture says. This is where I figure if the Greek translation is significant enough to point out to the church. I do this all day Wednesday. I will read some books or commentaries that are associated with my passage or theme. It is important for me to have my theme and points done first because I don't want anybody else to determine what God is trying to speak to me.
Illustrations & Support:
The intro is a big thing for me. It is what launches me into what I want to share. I usually share a personal story relating to the theme or a funny illustration. This puts me more at ease than anything else. I usually do this on Thursday afternoons after the passage and theme have simmered in my heart and mind for the last few days. Every once in a while I will troll for something that I can add to the message but what I am finding is that most illustrations or stories are for Topical messages and since I do Expository (verse by verse through a book of the Bible) they don't line up. This is why I do a ton of other reading on the internet or in magazines. It is here that I find some of the most fascinating stuff. I used to use TV but it has gotten so bad or negative that I stray away from it most of the time.
On Saturday morning you will find me at my office (please don't stop by) wrapping everything up. I will often preach through it a couple of times to see how it goes. If I am behind in my schedule this is where I catch up. Most importantly it is a time to get my mind around the whole message and see it complete instead of in parts. I do editing and additions during this time. I also finish by praying over it and the people who are going to hear it. By noon I am done and I head into my Sabbath time where I shut down my mind and let my body renew for services tomorrow.
Hopefully this gives you a picture of how I go about my messages. There are always things that challenge and distract me away from this. In fact last week me and my family fought the Flu all week and it really put me back in my schedule. Thankfully God is faithful and I am able to get ready.